The month of Return
Posted by Yacoob on August 27, 2008
Another year, another time to reflect: on time gone by; on resolutions met or failed; on progress in life’s realms – the spiritual, emotional, physical, mental…
Ramadaan is, for me, the marker to every year. The time when I gather up my hopes and ambitions – those highest of dreams for my future – and put it into a plan; a strategy to advance for the year to follow.
In my childhood and immaturity, Ramadaan was not special in the spiritual sense – but more so in the physical sense. The changes it brought about with fasting, and the togetherness we had in the family – something seldom felt most other times in the year.
And then, in recent years, it represented a time for spiritual intensity. A time where I could – without question – focus on my relationship with my Creator. The last two Ramadaans, especially, were vital in this regard. I’ve written before about milestones, plans within the month, and ambitions when it’s over, and looking back on those postings, I so wish that this year – like those of recent memory – will also bring with it such a passionate drive. A drive within myself to work on things which are within my reach, and hopefully – in the process – advance towards things I imagine to be out of reach.
Last year was the first Ramadaan in my adult life where I wasn’t working. Being unemployed has its perks – especially in Ramadaan. There’s no excuse for not striving, because you have the time to embark upon the things you want to do. You can sit with the Quran. You can spend hours alone just pondering, reflecting, having long talks with God. You can make the effort to wake up in the middle of the night for the most precious of prayers. You can analyse your worldly affairs, see your shortcomings, and put in place structures and plans to overcome the weaknesses.
You can, you can, you can.
Because you have the time. You have the most precious resource given to humankind: time.
Of course, if you’re working, studying, or otherwise occupied – you still can do some of those things; but not nearly as much.
For me, the big difference between last year and this year is sacrifice: when I had the free time, I didn’t have to sacrifice to do all that I wanted. And now, when I don’t have the free time, I wonder if I’ll be able to give even a quarter of the attention that I could give last year.
There’s another big difference this year: I’m no longer alone.
Looking back on my resolutions list from the end of last Ramadaan, I see a list of solo ambitions – things which, in my solitude, I hoped to strive for to improve myself, my circumstances, and my relationships with others.
It’s ironic that, after having so special a Ramadaan – one which established the promise of so much solo advance after it departed – my life changed almost instantly, in a way which seemed to put all those plans aside.
Allah took me through that month, building me up to perhaps the height of solo ambition; and then, just a week later, answered a dua which I’d been making for years up to that point. The dream I’d harboured for so long finally came true, and life literally entered a new phase. One almost opposite to the alone-ness which had been the base for so much of my reflections and ramblings on this blog and in private up till that point.
And though it was, at times, a painful transition for me – from near-constant solitude to near-constant companionship – it is what I wanted, and I wouldn’t change it at all.
A journey has begun: A journey which was I was being prepared for in all the years before this union came to be. A journey which must be guided by the goals I set as a lone ranger. A journey that should be supported by the companion which God has granted me for this most hectic of life’s phases thus far. A journey in which, by His Will, I will find within myself the potential He has placed in me, use it wisely, and gain the ultimate of rewards: the Good Pleasure of my Lord.
I’ve been faltering and slipping a lot of late. And those weaknesses which were once conquerable, now seem to be growing stronger and stronger.
This blessed month has come just in time. Once again, the opportunity for change is here.
I just hope I’ll have the will to do what needs to be done to get myself back on track.